Why We Love Music – with Prima Star Power
It’s important in a post-COVID era that we as a society appreciate the opportunity to connect with one another after being deprived of this connection for over two years. There is so much magic to human interaction at even the most minimal level that going solo can never replicate. Whether this be at work, school, with friends or simply in a public space, it’s crucial that we as social creatures surround ourselves with other people from time to time and experience the spirit of connectivity.
For me, one of the most valuable occasions to participate in this is with live music. Music in general has a way of speaking to us that regular language just can’t match. It’s a manner of communication between the artist and listener that goes beyond words and poetry, managing to resonate more powerfully multiple times over. Even writing this now, the reason I love music eludes me other than knowing first hand its powerful and unique effects. When getting to experience music live and in person, those effects are shared and amplified by the crowd of people around us, bringing forward the aforementioned spirit of connectivity.
To explore these feelings more deeply, I sat down with two members of Prima Star Power, an up-and-coming band based in Leeds who share my beliefs regarding the value of live music. We spoke about the qualities of community one might find at a gig, as well as the benefits of seeing your favourite band live versus listening over streaming, before moving on to the experience and intimacy of being a band playing for a room full of strangers.
I’ve been to a fair few Prima Star Power gigs this year since their first ever show in Hyde Park Book Club, 12th of November 2022. Every time I’m fortunate enough to see them play, there’s a palpable energy in the air; people are excited by what they’re hearing, and they share that excitement amongst themselves, feeding into this atmosphere of joy and comradery. When asked whether he saw live music as a communal experience, bandmember Connall Doo responded, “I don’t think it can not be. Unless you’re a solo artist playing to nobody, it’s always going to be communal. Communal to the band, band to the audience and audience amongst themselves.” Song writing partner Louis Lota chimed in next, “people react to the songs you play in similar ways. They go quiet for the slower songs and get loud when we pick up the pace. People respond to the music but they’re responding to each other too. That’s a shared experience ultimately”.
Live music, therefore, can be said to be enhanced by the company. It’s a very special thing to be at a concert and hearing the crowd around you, knowing you’re all there for the same reason and (hopefully) getting the same level of enjoyment out of the whole experience. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to see some of your favourite bands live too, and on a surface level, that’s likely where most of this enjoyment is being derived from. On this subject, Lota observes that “a band’s not just their songs. Seeing them play, appreciating them as human beings, it’s so important to the overall experience of music. I feel most inspired when I’m watching a band play.” Doo shares the sentiment, believing “it’s the best opportunity to connect with the artist. Live performance still symbolises the realist part of music.”
I was taken by this idea that live music adds to the “realness” of what you’re hearing. In the case of Prima Star Power, it couldn’t be more true. When on stage, the five-piece band will shoot knowing looks and smiles towards each other between the swooning ballads and danceable tunes, demonstrating to audiences that whilst a group of talented musicians, they’re a group of friends as well. The authenticity is on full display, and it’s fantastic, something bound to be missed by the average headphones listener. When one considers how being part of a larger audience in front of a band is participating in a shared experience, it’s nice as well to see that the band are feeling the same way.
Prima Star Power also subscribe to this belief and had some thoughts about the role of the artist’s music in developing the communal spirit of live music. Doo and Lota both agreed that the act of expressing oneself through music was a huge part in what keeps the whole event connected, with the connection between artist and listener being the primary bond on which all other elements of connectivity stem from. “Music is exposing yourself to the audience,” muses Doo. “You’re setting yourself up to get hit, and you’re hoping its flowers and not tomatoes. You’re basically sharing ‘yourself’, completely exposed, it’s very intimate in that way.” Lota interjects, “that’s a big part of the nervousness actually, on some songs more than others. Twenty minutes in and I have no thoughts, I’m just trying to concentrate on the music. But by the second half, I feel I express myself a little more. Interaction with the audience starts to feel more natural.” Despite the nerves, the band agreed it was worth it all to be a part of something so special. “It’s the best feeling seeing people dance,” Lota is proud to admit. “Seeing people enjoying the music you’re making. Even just a smile, it lifts you up massively.”
Ultimately, there are many reasons to enjoy live music, but I think the undeniable union that exists between the members of the audience and extends freely to the artists is what makes the whole thing sacred. Music is symbiotic; it needs to be listened to in order to exist. Performed live, shared by an enthusiastic audience, is really when music is at its most powerful, and it is truly magnificent to behold.